Tag Archives: Black Roots

Bristol’s fantastic reggae legacy

The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983Black Roots are one of my all time favourite UK reggae bands. Their sound is in the same great tradition as Aswad, Misty in Roots and Steel Pulse – heavy as lead bass lines, groove and clear melodies. And Black Roots were apparently part of the Bristol reggae scene, a music scene that is now put on wax by Bristol Archive Records.

The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 is according to the label the first and only attempt to document the local reggae scene from the late 70’s and early 80’s.

According to Bristol Archive Records none of the tunes – except for the Black Roots tunes – have ever been reissued and this is their debut in digital format.

It was certainly a long overdue deed. This is a historical document that includes great music and very informative liner notes about the Bristol reggae scene and the bands and artists that appear on the compilation.

Roots reggae dominates the 14 tracks by eight bands and artists and there are several highlights here.

Four Point Plan, by a band called Restriction that only released one four track twelve inch in 1983 mixed and engineered by Mad Professor at his Ariwa Studio in London, is a deejay lead masterpiece with some nice dub echoing going on.

Black Roots and Talisman are represented by three tracks each; two of Talisman’s are live recordings. All six are classic UK roots with solid brass arrangements.

Sharon Bengamin’s Mr Guy is lovers rock in the Janet Kay tradition and keeps things sweet and smooth.

Today DJ Stryda of Dubkasm keeps the Bristol reggae flag flying high, and this compilation shows that he has a firm foundation to rely on.

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Sugar Minott passes away

Sugar Minott, one of the dancehall pioneers, passed away yesterday at the away of 54 due to long-term illness, reports several internet sources.

Sugar Minott started his career in the mid 70’s as a member of the African Brothers and was a prolific singer, songwriter, producer, label owner and sound system operator.

He started his solo career at Studio One in the late 70’s where he started to record over the original cuts of some of the rhythms that were recorded in the 60’s. This proved to be the basis for the dancehall style.

Through his labels Black Roots and Youth Promotion he was a great promoter of young talents. He was early to record artists such as Junior Reid and Tenor Saw.

From the 70’s and onward, Sugar Minott continued to record. I believe some of his earliest records are the best, among them Black Roots, Live Loving and Ghetto-Ology. Recently he did nice combinations with NiyoRah and Hollow Point. Sugar Minott managed to record more than 60 albums during the years.

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